Characteristics of successful m-learning initiatives

Several examples of m-learning programmes have been developed to meet the specific needs of a community or in response to a government request. For example, the BBC World Service Trust developed its Janala program to roll out English lessons in Bangladesh after the government identified the need for improved English skills. Students dial “3000” to access hundreds of three-minute audio lessons. They can then assess their progress with interactive audio quizzes. Nine months after launch, this service had attracted 3 million calls with a high rate of repeat users. 77

It may make good business sense to mass produce content whenever feasible in order to spread the cost of content over a larger user base. But it is essential to develop local content and keep it relevant. 78 M-learning projects should have a clear sense of the mix of local, regional or international content that would be most useful to the target population.

To the extent possible, implementation of device-agnostic solutions should help to make m-learning programmes available to the widest possible audience without needing to customize them for a variety of mobile handsets or other devices. 79 For example, SMS-based services are accessible to nearly any mobile handset, while content delivered over mobile-optimized websites should be accessible to any Internet-connected device with a web browser, including smartphones, tablets and even some feature phones.

77 Gaudry-Perkins, Florence and Lauren Dawes, “mLearning: A powerful tool for addressing MDGs,” MDG Review (April 2012) at 12, available at http://www.meducationalliance.org/sites/default/files/mlearning_article-mdg_review-alcatel-lucent-gsma-april_2012.pdf .

78 Ibid.

79 Ibid.

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